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It’s been years since I first learned that there can be harmful ingredients lurking in our skincare products and sunscreen is one such product. Sunscreens often use quite a few ingredients in order to make their sun protecting product and many of them are not all that safe. Which is why I now just make this world’s easiest diy sunscreen!
Concerns with Sunscreen Ingredients
Most sunscreens contain synthetic oxybenzone. Synthetic oxybenzone has been linked to endocrine disrupting issues. It can effect the nervous system and it releases free-radicals when exposed to the sun which are harmful and obviously your sunscreen will be out in the sun.
Other potentially harmful active sunscreen ingredients include: avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Each of these have their own set of reasons for why there is concern with them being used in sunscreen.
In addition to the active sunscreen ingredients, there are the other concerning ingredients that are often lurking in any skincare product. These include paragons, phthalates, and PEG’s.
Are There Safe Sunscreen Ingredients?
Yes! The FDA and EWG (an amazing site for learning if your products have harmful ingredients in them) both recognize titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as safe. Their only concerns with these ingredients is with inhalation which is why you should wear a mask when working with them.
Are There Any Safe Sunscreens on the Market?
It may seem impossible to find a natural sunscreen but there are a few sunscreens that are safe that you can buy. Granted, you may not find them in your local stores so you may need to order them online, but they exist.
As I mentioned before, the EWG is a great resource for finding safe products. Each year, the EWG puts out a safe sunscreen guide with all the best and safest sunscreens out there.
You can also see where they rate on EWG’s toxicity range. For example, one of my favorite sunscreens to buy is Badger and it gets a toxicity rating of 1 (out of 10)
You Can Make Your Own Sunscreen
It’s great that there are some safe sunscreens out there to buy but did you know that you can actually make sunscreen?! Talk about an impressive DIY!
There are many sunscreen recipes out there but many of them contain decent number of ingredients and sometimes you just don’t have them or you don’t want to go through the extra steps that are required to make these diy sunscreens.
The good news is that there’s a way to make the world’s easiest diy sunscreen. It takes just two ingredients, one of which you already have in your bathroom!
How to Make the World’s Easiest Sunscreen
All you need for this sunscreen recipe is your favorite (natural) lotion and non-nano zinc oxide. You can probably already guess how you make this recipe but I’ll walk you through it below.
The non-nano zinc oxide is simple enough, you just want to make sure it’s non-nano and not nano sized. It’s easy to order off of Amazon. Non-nano means that the particles can’t enter your body… which is a good thing.
The lotion is where you’ll want to be selective. If you are already being selective about the ingredients in your skincare products then you’ve likely already found a few good lotions that only contain safe ingredients.
If you’ve not, then now is the time to search for a safe favorite and again, the EWG cosmetic database is a great place to find a safe brand. I personally like 100% Pure’s lotion (full disclosure, it’s not actually listed on EWG’s database although I’ve no idea why. However, I’ve run the ingredients through the database and so it should rate a 1)
What Ratio of Zinc Oxide to Lotion Do You Need / What SPF is The World’s Easiest Sunscreen?
The ratio of zinc oxide to lotion determines the SPF of the sunscreen. More zinc oxide equals more SPF.
a 20% zinc oxide to 80% lotion ratio will result in a SPF 20.
No matter how much sunscreen you are making, you only need to take the amount of lotion you are using (say 4oz) and multiply it but .20 (20%) The resulting number is how many ounces of zinc oxide you need. 4x.20=0.8 oz of zinc oxide.
Don’t want a SPF of 20?
No worries, I’ll break things down for you so you know what percentage needs to be zinc oxide.
5% zinc oxide = SPF 2-5
10% zinc oxide = SPF 6-11
15% zinc oxide = SPF 12-19
20% zinc oxide = SPF 20+
You’ll notice all those measurements were in ounces. If you want to get exact ounce measurements, you’ll want a kitchen scale. However, if you do not have a kitchen scale, you can use this Ounces to Tablespoon Converter.
Note: I don’t have the ability to scientifically test the SPF of this sunscreen but all my research suggests that these ratios are correct.
Fun Fact: More SPF doesn’t necessarily mean equal proportion UVA protection.
SPF 2 absorbs 50% UV rays
SPF 15 absorbs 93% UV rays
SPF 30 absorbs 96.7% UV rays
World’s Easiest DIY Sunscreen
this recipe makes 4oz of SPF 20 sunscreen but feel free to make more or less sunscreen and/or a different SPF but using the ratio equation listed above.
Add lotion to a small mixing bowl.
While wearing a mask for protection, carefully add in the zinc oxide.
Stir carefully to mix. You may find it still contains clumps thanks to the zinc oxide.
You can try using an electric whisk to break down the clumps.
Store in your favorite air tight container. I love using a 4oz mason jar.
Use like you would use any sunscreen. Put it on, spread it in. Since it contains zinc oxide, it can leave you a smidgen whiter than you were without it on but it’s not really noticeable.
Reapply every 1-2 hours (yes, this isn’t the long lasting stuff but then it doesn’t have any nasty ingredients in it either)
Reapply after going in the water as this is not a water-proof sunscreen.
In the event that you do accidentally get sunburned… be sure to check out my diy natural sunburn relief cream!